C’s Journey Into Cosplay: Stuck Getting Out Of The Gate

C's Kaylee costume from Halloween 3 years ago. It's too big now, which is part of why she doesn't have a cool costume.

Back around the start of the new year, I made a list of geeky resolutions for 2011. One of them was to cosplay for the first time. So with our first con of the year coming up in just a couple weeks, I must have an awesome costume or two ready to go, right?

Nope. I got nothing.

Part of the reason I made my resolutions here in my column, for all the geek world to see, was so I’d have you all to hold me accountable. And I can’t expect my readers to make and keep resolutions that I can’t keep, can I? So here I am, fessing up and looking for a little encouragement and advice, which just might help someone else in the same boat, as well.

I could throw out a bunch of excuses as to why I don’t have a costume ready to go – lack of time, lack of money, lack of muscle tone – but the main reason I’m still floundering around in the very early stages of my cosplay journey is very simple.

I don’t know who I want to cosplay as.

To seasoned cosplayers, who have more ideas for costumes than they can count, this might seem like a ridiculous problem. It’s like standing in a library full of books and complaining that you can’t find anything to read, isn’t it? With so many possibilities to choose from, how can I not have a clue who I want to pretend to be?

Where I’m Stuck

There are three big things that are bottle-necking my quest for a great cosplay:

I wear glasses, and cannot wear contacts. I also desperately need my glasses to function and walk around, so leaving them off for even an hour or two is not an option. This automatically rules out any costume that would require face paint. Plus, I don’t want to look silly cosplaying as a character who doesn’t wear glasses. There aren’t a lot of choices out there for someone who really wants to wear glasses as part of their costume; my searches on teh interwebz turned up a number of characters from anime/manga that I’ve never heard of (sorry, M) but not much else. So it’s looking like my two main options right now are Baroness and generic Hogwarts student. Which brings me to…

I want my cosplay to mean something to me. I’m a child of the 80’s, so I liked G.I. Joe, but it wasn’t exactly something I planned my days around. Baroness isn’t high on my list of characters I absolutely love. And while I do love Harry Potter, I’d prefer to actually be a specific character that people would hopefully recognize. I don’t want to pick some random anime character just because the look is right – I want to portray a character from a fandom I at least like, if not love (like X-Men, Firefly, InuYasha, or most things fantasy). And finally…

I want to be comfortable. I’m just a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of girl, ya know? I can handle a dress or skirt if needed, but I’m not a fan of high heels. And any costume that restricts my ability to breathe, eat, sit, or go to the bathroom without a couple girlfriends to help me out of my trappings is not going to work for this geek girl. I want a costume I can get into and out of by myself (maybe with minimal help from my husband) in a matter of minutes – I don’t have the patience to spend two hours getting into costume. I also want to be able to wear it for several hours – or even a whole day – without discomfort. If I’m feeling pinched, poked or constricted, I’m going to turn into a cranky geek girl in very short order, and no one wants that.

Where I’m NOT Stuck

Before I sound like a complete whiner, I’m pretty open about a couple things for my cosplay. I’m not opposed to wearing something skin-tight, or even showing a fair amount of my super-white skin. While I’m not quite ready to wear a chainmail bikini, I’m confident enough with my weight and shape to wear a short skirt, a low-cut top, or a spandex bodysuit. And generic or original characters aren’t out of the question, if that’s what ultimately works best. I’m also open to the idea of cosplaying as a male character.

Help me, dear readers and cosplay veterans! Are my glasses-wearing fears unfounded? Should I really just cosplay whoever I want? Is it possible to be comfy all day long in a costume?

While it’s too late to pull together a costume for MisCon 25, we won’t be hitting another con until late this fall. That’s plenty of time if I can get all my ducks in a row. Perhaps with your help, my next column about this journey will reveal some progress toward the best cosplay EVAR! (Or at least a good one.)

What advice do you have for me in my quest to create a great costume?

About c

By day, Connie Thomson (aka Ariel Manx) is a mild-mannered shoe salesgirl, geeking out about insoles, outsoles, and shanks. But when night falls, she takes her turn at the helm of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, where she writes, edits, and does layout for table-top RPG products. Regardless of her persona, C is always a fangirl, bookworm, and craft diva. (Email C or follow @arielmanx on Twitter.)

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